What Does Robust Mean, Anyway?

Today’s inspiration invited me to ponder the deeper meaning of the word robust. I am using Alan Rickman’s delightful quote as the foundation of my adventure this year: “If only life could be a little more tender, and art a little more robust.” As I completed reorganizing my bedroom closet, and sorted through piles of stuff, my mind was free to consider the word Alan so purposefully used. The journey I was guided on was amazing and soulful. 

What does robust mean, anyway?
I looked up robust before the end of last year. The word means “strong, healthy, vigorous”. I am always fascinated by the origin of words. Robust comes from the Latin word robur, literally meaning oak strength. 

This morning I asked, as I do every morning, “What adventure should we have today?”, which is a fancy way of asking, “How shall we play today?” This is what a response, an invitation from the Divine, looks like in my life. It starts with a nudge, an energetic tap on the shoulder, that gets my attention. 


It began with memories from Facebook. Three years ago on this date, during my Year of Firsts, I took a winter walk in Wildcat Park. I encountered Oak Tree for the first time, a big old tree near one of the walking trails. Touching the oak that afternoon, I felt the vibration of energy humming beneath my hands. I look for Oak Tree every time I walk at Wildcat Park, and I always stop to rest a hand on the rough bark. 

As I worked in my bedroom this afternoon, I had a DVD playing, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. There is an ancient tree featured in a couple of scenes. It is a whomping willow tree, not an oak, but seeing that tree, after reading my post earlier about Oak Tree, drew my attention to the word robust, and its root word meaning oak strength. Now I was curious. And curiosity inspired me to follow its lead to discover something deeper. 

Oak Tree in Wildcat Park in the spring. 

I looked up the symbolism around the mighty oak tree, as I thought about art being more robust, more oak strong. This hardwood, which can live for hundreds of years, is considered the King of Trees. Attributes associated with the oak include honor, wisdom, endurance, stability and strength. Those are good characteristics to connect with art…and with my life. The Celtic word druid is derived from their word for oak, duir, which interestingly literally means door. To the Celtic people, passing through an oak door is to spiritually access soul thoughts. 

This is where I said, Wait a minute… and began to access my own soul thoughts. 



In 2014, my Year of Firsts, I encountered Oak Tree and we became friends. The next year, my Year of Journeys, my symbol was an open door, and my secondary symbol became the acorn, the oak tree’s seed. I associated the acorn with remembrance, and potential, and I purchased a silver acorn pendant and a silver and copper acorn ring. 

Last year my journey continued with a Year of Surrender. My symbol was the river, representing the flow of life. I learned to trust at a deep level, recognizing that I am not in control of anything, except how I choose to respond to where the flow takes me and the opportunities that appear. I realized that the Divine calls to me as the Dream Giver, just around the river bend. I can choose to follow that guidance, or resist the invitations to grow and expand my heart and soul.  

2017 is my Year of Inspiration. Inspiration…literally meaning Divine guidance. As I considered the acorn, and how that seed contains all the potential for a mighty, strong tree, my heartbeat quickened. Ahhhhh. This. This is where inspiration was leading me. I suddenly saw the connections between my own journey the last three years, and where I am now. The linking of the symbols of the oak tree, the door, the acorn, surrender – which is a type of dying to self, exactly what a seed does so new growth emerges, inspiration and the word robust…from Alan’s quote…gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. 

How could I ever doubt that my journey is being divinely guided? My trust deepened even further today, with such inspired revelation…going deep like the roots of an oak tree.

I briefly questioned whether my symbol for this year should be the oak tree. That would make sense. But the answer that came was no. No, this was a lesson today for me about my journey…a lesson that began three years ago when I desired to move beyond my comfort zone. 

And the journey continues. 

This year, I am learning about making life a little more tender, and art a little more robust. I am becoming more robust as well. I am oak strong. 

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